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Alpha Bet

Netflix’s surprise-hit series “House of Cards” opened the floodgates. Now Amazon is launching its own original shows, starting with “Alpha House,” an inside-the-beltway comedy written by “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau. Conceived as a sort of Republican “Animal House,” the series stars John Goodman as one of four senators who bunk together in a D.C. townhouse. That’s not so far-fetched: Actual politician Chuck Schumer, who turns up in a cameo, recently gave ABC News a tour of the dorm-like Washington home he shares with two fellow senators. “Alpha House” also offers a cameo by Stephen Colbert, who plays himself in a wrestling scene reminiscent of “Borat,” and future appearances by comics Amy Sedaris and Wanda Sykes. Beginning on November 15, the series will be available exclusively to Amazon Prime members, who pay $79 a year for unlimited streaming of 40,000-plus movies and TV programs (plus perks when they shop at Amazon). But you can test the waters with a 30-day free trial. And if you need a little more incentive, consider this: Bill Murray steals the show as he gets dragged off to jail in the first episode. — John Birmingham

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